5702 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

The Gladiator (Marvel Comics) (Daredevil enemy)

Gladiator

(Melvin Potter)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“It’s the costume, only the costume, that gives these egotistical braggarts the respect of the whole world ! I shall have the greatest fighting garb of all ! I shall have the fame, the respect, the world now gives them !”


Context

The Gladiator is primarily an opponent of Daredevil. Originally, he was a stock psychotic strongman, with delusions about being an Ancient Roman gladiator and armed with buzzsaws on his gloves.

He gradually became portrayed as a sick man attempting to keep his issues under control, and was generally successful. Thus, Melvin Potter evolved more toward being a supporting cast character than a villain.

This profile uses later explanations about the Gladiator’s psychological illness to reframe his vintage appearances, where his mindset wasn’t explained yet.


Background

  • Real Name: Melvin Potter
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Known Relatives: Betsy Beatty Potter (wife) ; reputedly a four-year old daughter (name unrevealed)
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Emissaries of Evil, former associate of the Nefaria Family, former leader of his own criminal crew
  • Base Of Operations: New York City (in particular his shop Spotlight Costume, East Side, Manhattan).
  • Height: 6’6” Weight: 300 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Bald, black facial hair


Powers and Abilities

Potter is a huge, very powerful man with a genuine talent for hand-to-hand combat and significant athletic ability. Once his ire is aroused, he is a determined fighter with a strong killer instinct.

He’s also an excellent tailor. In particular people often comment on the quality of his reproductions of super-heroes and super-villain costumes.

Gladiator gear

As the Gladiator, he wears a suit of armour he designed and built himself. The metal helmet includes a rebreather for emergencies (he occasionally uses it by forcing his opponents to fight underwater), the nylon boots are studded with tungsten steel blades, and the armoured gauntlets sport his signature weapons – two very sharp circular saws.

Those saws can be used defensively as bucklers, and offensively since electric motors keep them spinning at high speeds. The Gladiator’s twin-edged blades have proved able to shear through a steel I-beam after 12 to 15 seconds of moderate effort. They have been variously described as a titanium allow steel or a tungsten alloy steel.

During the halcyon days of the 1960s, the whirring blades somehow provided lift, allowing the Gladiator to slow his fall or to perform prodigious leaps. This aspect has been downplayed since.

In his early, pre-Bont days, the Gladiator would often not start up his wrist motors until the battle was well underway, striking at first with inert blades (in DC Heroes RPG terms, use the EV of the COSTUME for that) until the fight had escalated enough for him to fire his master weapons up.


History

The man-mountain Melvin Potter was seemingly always plagued with psychological issues. He was uncomfortable with whom he was and the frightening potential for deadly violence he could feel within himself.

Leading a restrained life, he became a simple tailor owning a strange costume shop somewhere in the East Side of Manhattan. The shop was known for its excellent reproductions of superhuman costumes (such as Captain America suit with shield, a Thor suit with hammer and wig, etc.).

This speciality of Potter’s was driven by a growing obsession with super-heroes and villains, whom he saw as persons free to indulge in the potential for physical violence that seethed within him.

Potter resented super-heroes in particular, feeling that he would be stronger than them if only he allowed himself to cut loose. Eventually he started assembling a costume of his own. This suit symbolised what his unleashed self would be — the deadly Gladiator, bristling with brutal bladed weapons.

His jealousy was such that he persuaded himself that, if he became the Gladiator, he would be just as respected and famous as Daredevil or even Captain America.

The classic years, part 1

One evening, Foggy Nelson came to Potter’s shop with a weird plan to make Karen Page believe that he was Daredevil, hoping that it would impress her. Seeing that the power of a costume was thought to be enough to seduce women was the last drop for Potter. The shopkeeper decided to finally become the Gladiator and to make Nelson-disguised-as-Daredevil his first kill.

When Nelson came to get his costume, Potter offered to mount a false attack on him using “an accomplice” in a villain costume to make sure Ms. Page would be thoroughly impressed. Nelson agreed – not suspecting that the assault would be genuine. When this attack took place Nelson lasted but seconds, practically knocking himself out.

Ignoring the pathetic and unconscious Nelson, the Gladiator gave in to his bloodlust by deciding to fully become a villain and slay Karen Page. The real Daredevil (still in the early stages of his career) intervened, and after a difficult fight managed to take the Gladiator out.

The classic years, part 2

The Gladiator spent but minutes at the police station, however. He was busted out by henchmen of the Masked Marauder wielding gas weaponry. The attempts of the Masked Marauder to turn the Gladiator into one of his goons backfired, and the Gladiator mauled the Marauder Potter.

The Marauder relented and agreed to make him his partner in his current enterprise – to kill Daredevil. Potter witnessed as the Marauder unleashed his technological creation, the Tri-Man… and failed. Daredevil soon determined whence the Tri-Man came and stormed the Marauder’s HQ.

As the Gladiator started fighting Daredevil in the Marauder’s lab he was betrayed by his partner. The Marauder teleported Daredevil and the Gladiator to an arena in Europe where Maggia bosses watched the fight. The Marauder, fearing that Daredevil would prevail, hoped to placate his bosses by offering them a good fight to watch no matter who won.

During the fight, the Gladiator accidentally set free a caged lion with his blades. Unsure of how to fight the beast, the still inexperienced Gladiator was rescued by Daredevil who drove the lion back. Since Daredevil had saved his life, he refused to kill him in the arena.

The pragmatic Maggia capos decided to let Daredevil go and hire the Gladiator to make a made man out of him.

Godfathers, part 1

Whatever career the Gladiator had in Europe lasted a handful of months at most. He was then contact by Electro who was organising a band of criminals he called the Emissaries of Evil. Rankled by the fact he had yet to defeat Daredevil, and perhaps a bit homesick, the Gladiator accepted and flew back to the Big Apple.

However, the Emissaries were a disaster. Their most competent member was the relatively inexperienced Gladiator, and they chiefly got in each other’s way.

Although he was captured, the Gladiator soon escaped from prison. After the Masked Marauder was reported dead in yet another plot against Daredevil, Potter checked old Marauder bases he knew about from the time they worked together. He eventually discovered special equipment the Marauder had built to enhance the Gladiator’s armour.

Godfathers, part 2

The new gizmos were a considerable boost to the Gladiator’s raw power. He decided to contact the Maggia in the US to demonstrate how he could become their head enforcer and perhaps a capo.

At that point, Whitney Frost (Giulietta Nefaria, the future Madame Masque) was the “Big M”, or leader of the North American Maggia. She was just preparing a daring paramilitary raid on Stark Industries in order for her men to steal an arsenal of S.H.I.E.L.D.-grade weaponry for their future needs.

The Gladiator barged in, demonstrated his new power and asked to be part of the operation. After Frost agreed, he prepared a plan where he would kidnap Stark in order to lure Iron Man to him — both to make sure that Frost’s men would not run into the Golden Avenger, and to make his rep by defeating the powerful Iron Man.

The enhanced Gladiator proved to match for Iron Man, who could barely manage to stop him.

In the end, however, the Maggia attack was foiled because Frost could not bring herself to kill her boyfriend, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell. The Gladiator came in and vigourously took charge in her stead, turning the tide, but Frost shot off one of his wrist blades when he tried to kill Sitwell. Then, the ragged Iron Man finally managed to take the Gladiator down.

The original Kingpin

Big M’s actions plunged the Maggia into chaos. Gladiator thus came to work for the man who has occasionally be called the first Kingpin of Crime — Alexander Bont, a major New York City crimelord whose reign was centred on Hell’s Kitchen.

The villainous Gladiator acted as one of Bont’s main enforcers and assassins for a while. He was eventually got stopped by Daredevil sent to jail. Howbeit, the case against Potter was weak enough that he got out on parole, and he decided to return to his costume shop and lay low for a while.

While Potter was in prison, Daredevil (still at this point in the early years of his career) largely took apart Bont’s criminal empire. He also managed to have heavy Federal attention directed at Bont. 

Bont’s business was falling apart and G-men were shadowing him everywhere hoping to gather evidence. In response, the godfather forced Potter’s hand to become the Gladiator again and kill Daredevil, lest he reveal everything about Potter’s career to the FBI.

Fall of Bont

The reluctant Gladiator attempted to kill Daredevil, but he was defeated and sent to prison. Bont’s empire finally came apart thanks the efforts of vigilante Daredevil and lawyer Matt Murdock.

During this new prison stay, Potter started systematically denying that he ever was the Gladiator. He was so vehement and coherent about this that doubt eventually arose as to whether he was genuinely suffering from amnesia, perhaps induced by physical trauma during the fight with Daredevil.

Potter was moved to a lower-security prison for psychiatric evaluation. It was eventually decided to confront him with the Gladiator paraphernalia to break a possible amnesia.

This was the Gladiator’s plan all along. Hhe seized his old gear in a straightforward attempt to fight his way out of prison. This had been anticipated, of course — not only was Daredevil on hand, but his wrist blades had been rigged to disintegrate after but a few minutes of use.

Daredevil managed to kick him into an empty cell, and Potter bust his altered blades trying to cleave through the bars.

On the lam

Somehow, the Gladiator later managed to escape. Bont having long since fallen, Potter went back to his contacts in Europe who told him about an opportunity. The job was to hijack a Boeing 747 and deliver it to an undisclosed South American country to be retrofitted as a troops transport.

Along with a crew of British criminals, Potter hijacked the plane. However he ran into Daredevil, the Black Widow and her chauffeur Ivan, all of whom were returning from London to New York City.

The Gladiator temporarily won when he pointed out that his men carried explosives and that he would detonate them if needed. But the three adventurers eventually got rid of the bombs and took Potter and his men out, before helping land the plane in one piece.

For the touch of Death-Stalker is the touch of death

When the Gladiator was next seen, he was an accomplice of the dreaded Death-Stalker — who had likely busted him out of prison.

Death-Stalker was after research papers written by Ted Sallis before he became the Man-Thing. These documented the science of the secret SULFUR government project to create super-soldiers. Those papers had been stolen by activist Candace Nelson, the sister of Foggy Nelson (then the D.A. of NYC).

The Gladiator easily tracked down and kidnapped Candy Nelson despite the Federal attention she was receiving, nearly killing a Federal agent. Daredevil tracked him down to the Everglades in an attempt to free Nelson, but was defeated by the Gladiator in the swamp. Death-Stalker appeared and told the Gladiator to kill the unconscious Daredevil.

Before he could do so the Man-Thing interrupted, drawn in by the commotion. The Gladiator attacked, but did not fare well against the terrifying creature. Even conquering his fear of the monstrosity was not enough since slashing weapons did not amount to much against the Man-Thing.

Eventually the Death-Stalker prevailed, and ordered the Gladiator to set fire to the shack where they had dumped Daredevil and Nelson. Potter reluctantly agreed, since he hardly could defy a terrifying lunatic who was invulnerable and could kill with a touch. But as he got away from the blaze he ran straight into the Man-Thing again, who defeated him and left him lying there.

Daredevil found him seconds later as he escaped from the fire with Nelson, and handed him over to Florida police.

Various jobs

Within months, however, the increasingly deranged Gladiator was back. Allied with the Beetle,he hijacked a fast train, forced the passengers to jump off without bothering to stop the train, and crashed it into Grand Central Station. He and the Beetle them emerged from the wreckage to kill Daredevil, who managed to defeat them both.

Continuing to bounce from mob to mob in search of a breakout, the Gladiator was next seen in LA. He worked for the Enforcer to find a technological mcguffin – which had been stolen by another costumed nogoodnik, the first Eel. The Enforcer considered that paying the Gladiator to kill the Eel was cheaper than paying the Eel so he would give him the mcguffin.

Despite the interference of the Ghost Rider, the Gladiator found the Eel, who did not have the mcguffin anymore. He murdered him since he could not deliver the goods. The Ghost Rider soon found the Eel’s corpse and fought the Gladiator, swiftly defeating him and leaving him for the arriving cops to find.

What did the Romans ever do for us ?

After he was transferred back to a New York City prison, Potter’s psychological issues continued to worsen. He felt increasingly dissociated and alienated – starting to act more like a lost and borderline schizophrenic child than a ruthless killer. He was eventually paroled and referred to a social worker and parole officer, Betsy Beatty, and his costume donated to a museum of human history.

The insane Potter developed a fixation in his only contact, Beatty. He thought she paid attention to him because she loved him, and started experiencing a mild delusion that he was actually an heroic Roman gladiator acclaimed at the circus. He broke into the museum, reclaimed his costume and weapons and told Beatty she could now declare her love for him.

When she tried to explain that he was mistaken he jumped to the absurd conclusion she would not declare her love until he proved himself in combat in front of her, in the Coliseum. When Daredevil came to rescue Beatty and other bystanders, they fought brutally throughout the museum, ending in a reconstructed Roman arena where Daredevil eventually managed to knock him out.

Rehabilitating the Gladiator

Despite the violent incident at the museum, Beatty’s work to rehabilitate Potter proved effective. Attorney Matthew Murdock volunteered to defend Potter during his trials for his deeds as the Gladiator, largely due to his strong Christian belief in redemption.

However a complication arose when another very large man who was a dead ringer for Potter, brutal street criminal Michael Reese, started feeling police heat on his heels.

Reese decided to exploit his resemblance with Potter by framing him for his crimes, even attacking Beatty in her apartment (she managed to fight him off long enough to force him to flee). Feeling angry and powerless in the courtroom as he was accused of crime he did not commit, Potter broke out of police custody to reclaim his armour so he could feel strong and powerful as the Gladiator again.

As he was holding his combat helmet, Matt Murdock confronted him. Potter soon admitted he did not really want to be the Gladiator, and was just lonely and in need of help. Daredevil eventually managed to capture Reese and clear Potter of those wrongdoings.

On trial

During the trial, Murdock went for an insanity defence, arguing that Potter was now free of the Gladiator. His defence was poor, however, since he had recently been separated from his partner Foggy Nelson and was not used to working alone.

Potter started becoming gloomy and depressed over this, but this was not his main problem. The Kingpin had paid the Hand to kill Potter, hoping to draw Daredevil into a confrontation with the deadly ninja organisation.

Elektra, an old lover of Murdock, heard about this. In a fit of nostalgia decided to protect Murdock’s life against her former colleagues of the Hand.

Determining when the genin would strike at Potter, Elektra had him escape from a police transport and handed him his costume to help her fight off the attackers. Potter was incapable of reverting to his Gladiator persona and could not even fight, though Elektra and his armour saved his life against the ninja blades.

As Daredevil and Elektra struggled against the Hand, Murdock reunited with Nelson to represent Potter. Ironically it was Nelson alone who won the Potter case, by suddenly realising that an obscure piece of jurisprudence allowed him to successfully request a mistrial.

An honest shopkeeper

Rejecting all contacts from his prior life and asserting that he was now sane and cured, Potter re-opened his costume shop as an honest artisan.

His peace lasted for a while, until three hoodlums on the run from the police invaded his shop and forced him at gunpoint to don his old armour and fight the police for them. They shot him in the arm when he tried to call 9-11, but he managed to stall until Spider-Man came in and defeated the thugs.

The pain from his wound, however, induced a short fugue state in which Potter became convinced not only that he was again the Gladiator, but that he was fighting in a Roman arena as the Emperor watched. He violently engaged Spider-Man, but Spidey eventually convinced him to stop fighting and not to kill the thugs in retaliation for making him the Gladiator again.

Potter fully recovered his sanity within minutes, and offered to repair Spider-Man’s costume to thank him.

Taken

Perhaps inspired by this incident, another group of criminals kidnapped his therapist Betsy Beatty some time later, using her to force Potter to become the Gladiator and give them one million dollars in exchange for the social worker.

Deeply scared for Betsy’s life, Potter tried to wear his old costume again but that made him violently ill. He had to settle for a reproduction secutor-style historical gladiator armour.

He left clues for Murdock as he pathetically stole valuables, hoping Daredevil would stop him. After Daredevil mistakenly beat him up due to stress in his personal life, he located the kidnapped Betsy. He and Potter invaded the place where the gang was holding her.

For an instant Potter was the Gladiator again, but as he spotted Betsy he simply threw away his opponent rather than kill him, and freed the therapist.

Managing to save his former parole officer with Daredevil’s help solved several key psychological issues for Potter. He found new confidence and improved mental health. His relationship with Beatty became more that of friends than a patient/therapist one, since he was no longer in deep need of help.

Exemplary citizen

Potter later ran into more trouble as the Kingpin mob forced him to make a duplicate of the Daredevil costume, but he managed to reach Daredevil (through Ben Urich) who told him to go ahead and that he was aware of the problem.

Melvin’s relationship with Betsy continued to evolve and became a romance. They eventually got married and Potter got a new therapist.

One day, a young tough idolising the worst super-villains came to his shop to request a duplicate of the Gladiator costume, which shook Potter badly. Investigating, he decided to personally ensure that the young man would not become a new Gladiator. He donned the costume for the first time in years and confronted him in his home, hoping to scare or convince him out of his psychotic ways.

While this did not work out, his wife assured him that he was just trying to do the right think and that it was OK for him to break his word and wear the costume again given the circumstances.

A destroyed life, part 1

Potter’s past came to haunt him yet again some time later, however — and the worse parts of it to boot. After decades in prison, Alexander Bont was released.

Telling Potter that he had kidnapped his four-year old daughter (whose existence Potter was previously unaware of), he forced him to become the Gladiator again and to bring him Daredevil. Hating himself, Potter built a trap shooting a lot of circular saw blades and brought Murdock right to it. There were too many blades for Murdock to dodge, and he was felled.

As Bont took his revenge, the Gladiator was engaged in combat by the new White Tiger and lost. Meanwhile Bont’s elderly heart exploded from the Mutant Growth Hormone he had been using to give himself super-powers. At this point Potter knew that Murdock was Daredevil — but he refused to tell anything to the police and went to prison to protect this secret.

He was briefly seen there during a prison riot, staying out of trouble and into his cell. Whether Potter’s daughter existed, or was a fabrication by Bont, was unrevealed.

A destroyed life, part 2

As he was going to be released from Ryker, Potter fell afoul of yet another conspiracy seeking to exploit the power of the Gladiator. Mister Fear III (Cranston) launched a meticulously planned assault on Matt Murdock’s life, which involved slipping regular doses of a special drug to the imprisoned Potter.

Potter had two incidents of blacking out, during which three men died by his hand. He was unable to remember what happened, and things started looking very bleak for him.

During a transfer for psychiatric evaluation, Potter was set free after a brutal assault on the police truck. He fled into a state of drug-induced schizophrenia, making a bee line for a hidden Gladiator costume.

Cranston’s awful drugs turned him into a version of the Gladiator that was worse than anything before, and he became the heavy in Cranston’s plan to destroy Daredevil.

A destroyed life, part 3

The Gladiator hit a crowded market in Chinatown near Hell’s Kitchen, massacring random shoppers and fleeing when the police came. Mere hours later he assaulted Murdock while he was having dinner with his wife, forcing her to flee the scene.

The Gladiator then kidnapped Mrs. Murdock and threw her off a building under construction, but she was rescued by DD. In a state of obviously altered mentality, the Gladiator savagely tried to kill Daredevil, acting with tremendous rage but none of his normal skill.

Mrs. Murdock stopped the fight as she realised Potter was snapping out of his drug-induced frenzy. She was correct. In horror over what he had done Potter tried to defenestrate himself, forcing Daredevil to choke him unto unconsciousness to stop him from committing suicide.

Even after he was returned to the Bellevue psychiatric hospital, he tried to commit suicide by bashing his head against a wall, and had to be heavily sedated and restrained.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Potter spend years repressing himself. When he finally accepted himself as the Gladiator his pent-up aggression became the dominant facet of his personality. The Gladiator is a huge fighting machine who takes lip from no-one and rules wherever he may go through an almost palpable, constant threat of unstoppable violence.

The Gladiator knows no master, and will react violently to any attempt to assert authority over him. He can be persuaded to work as a partner and an equal, though. His hungry ambition will prevail sooner or later, though – he has self-esteem issues and violently overcompensates for those.

Evolutions

Originally he wasn’t really a killer. However during his time with Bont, he became a murderer and his ways became noticeably more bloodthirsty and ruthless. He still was rational, of course, and avoided costly mistakes such as killing law enforcement enforcers, though he would not hesitate to severely wound them.

The psychological effects of working for Bont took another toll. Though he was still ambitious, he was no longer as brazenly independent as before, and became willing to take orders and work as a mere employee to another man. While he was still looking out for number one, he had become more of a flunky.

Perhaps as a transfer of guilt for this, he increasingly started to obsess about his revenge on Daredevil.

Once cured, Potter was just a honest shopkeeper, who tried to do some good when he could but generally avoided getting into trouble.


Quotes

(As Potter) “I do not have a Daredevil costume in your size ! You will have to take something else !”

“Costumed super-heroes ! I hate them all ! They’re nothing but overrated, conceited, swaggering braggarts ! All their glamor… all their appeal… lies within their colorful costumes ! But take away those costumes, and they’re no better than I am !”

“After all these years, years of cringing and bowing before the weaklings who patronized my shop, I finally taste triumph !”

“The boss, huh ? Mister, where I go, there is only one boss… and that’s the Gladiator !”

“Mister, you don’t know how wrong you are ! All my life people have tried to give me orders ! Customers, coming to my shop… trying to order me around… But no longer ! I’m too powerful for anyone to push around! I’m the Gladiator !”

“Go on, kid ! Tell ’em ! Tell ’em that the Gladiator is here, and that he’s takin’ over this train as of now !”

“Well, creep — the Gladiator don’t scare ! You want a fight, you’ll get a fight, and when it’s finished — you’ll be a dead man !”

(Insanely raving) “They fear me because I am strong ! That’s why they tried to steal my freedom… and everything that is rightfully mine !  They betrayed me just like they betrayed Cæsar ! But my armour will protect me — my armour and my weapons !”

“It’s not a front, Turk. And I’m not the Gladiator anymore. My name’s Melvin Potter. And I’ve gone straight. […] I’ve got no old times.  Just my shop. And my sanity.”


DC Universe History

Potter would be a fine addition to the Batman cast of villains and allies, perhaps with more of a Roman Gladiator theme – and with an occasional Maxie Zeus affiliation during his early career, since getting ancient cultures confused was an hallmark of the Goden and Silver Ages.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Gladiator

Dex: 06 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 06 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 018 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics): 04, Artist (Tailor): 04, Gadgetry: 04, Martial Artist: 07, Weaponry (Roman gladiator weapons): 05

Advantages:
Familiarity (superhero and villain costume design), Schtick (Paired Wrist Blades)

Connections:
Underworld (Low), Maggia (Low)

Drawbacks:
Dependants (His wife and possibly his daughter), Minor Rage

Equipment: The core equipment of the Gladiator is as follow:

  • GLADIATOR ARMOR [/BODY/ 07, EV 03 (06 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist), Sealed Systems: 04, Limitation: Sealed Systems only against gasses and lack of air (-2)]
  • WRIST BLADES [BODY 12, Claws: 10, Jumping: 01, Note: Can also be used to Block like a large shield, without any penalty]
  • SAW LAUNCHERS [BODY 04, Projectile Weapon: 07 (Diminishing), Range: 03, Ammo: 02, Note: The first ammo diminishes the Claw power of the WRIST BLADES by one AP, and the second deprives him of the WRIST BLADES entirely]. Those catapults allow him to shoot his wrist blades at opponents. Each shot is a pair of disks, one from each wrist blade ; since the disks have two layers he can do that twice. After the second shot, wrist switchblades pop out to continue fighting, but this is already covered by the EV of the COSTUME.
    When shooting his blades, the Gladiator uses his DEX as the AV (-0 or -1 depending on house rules). The Launchers appeared about halfway through his career.

Gladiator Maximus

After the Emissaries of Evil fiasco, the Gladiator acquired special technological developments, which the Masked Marauder had prepared before his defeat to enhance the Gladiator costume. Those had very significant effects on the Gladiator’s core gear:

  • The /BODY/ shoots up to 11
  • The EV rises to 10 – the armor now “emits electro shocks from any point […], [adding] immeasurable force to any blow”
  • In fact it seemed the costume gave him /STR/ 08, though I’d assume that the wearer’s STR has to be at least a 05 to reach that level
  • Both the BODY and the Claws power of the WRIST BLADES rise to 12 APs

Those enhancements allowed the Gladiator to frontally battle none other than Iron Man in the Golden Avenger armour (though, admittedly, it was a very early model of that generation of the armour).

He never used them again, however — they presumably were permanently lost when he was arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D., and all subsequent versions of the costume were small evolutions remaining within the bounds of the “core” equipment above.


Morituri te salutant

The HPs given for Potter are an average — there was significant variance. His low ebb was probably during the Emissaries of Evil debacle (where everyone seemed capped at about 20 HPs) while he had an abnormal amount of HPs when facing Iron Man (about 50, and he used the vast majority of them on LDD.)


Reforming the warrior

The stats above are for Gladiator II at the peak of his career as a villain. After he was cured and reformed, he developed for a time a SIA toward being unable to fight — he could but weakly defend himself.

Working out much less and having lost his maniacal edge, his Physical Attributes dropped by one (DEX 05 STR 04 BODY 04), as did his Acrobatics ; his Martial Artist Skill dropped by two APs. On the other hand his Artist (Tailor) Subskill went up to 05.

The SIA eventually became a MIA, then switched to a MPI – strong pain would induce hallucinations that he was a Roman gladiator in the arena. During those hallucinations he regained his psychotic might and his normal Physical Attributes and Martial Artist.

After being cured of being the Gladiator, Potter would generally refuse to put *any* HP in fighting, unless he was clearly fighting to protect his loved ones.

When Mister Fear ’reactivated‘ Potter as the Gladiator, Melvin had his “peak” stats, 45 HPs, a Catastrophic Rage and a MPI. However, he was unable to use his Martial Artist Skill for AV or OV, nor to boost his AV or OV with HPs, being too full of drug-induced rage.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Chiefly Daredevil comics

Helper(s): Hartley Holmberg

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